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Category Archives for SPG.

Le Meridian Mahabaleshwar puts off opening by another month

There are two resort properties I have been very interested in recently. One is the JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Grove Resort & Spa, which I visited the last weekend, and the other is the Le Meridien Mahabaleshwar Resort, which was due to open March 1, 2015. The reasoning is the same, these resorts are the first entries of these marquee brands in the luxury hill station resort segment in India, and I’d love to figure out how they bring a difference to the earlier experience. Anyhow, I was very excited to go to over to the new upcoming resort in the coming month, however I then received the dreaded email yesterday: You see, I had reservations there, and there is…

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Best Hotel Promotions Q1 2015: Indian Perspective

The Hotel Promotions for 2015’s first quarter/trimester are out, and some of them are really sweet for the India focus. I thought this would be a good time to summarise all the hotel promotions, and analyse them from the Indian perspective so that you can pick your affiliations for the first quarter. IHG India Free Nights (Get 1 Night free for 3 nights in India/Nepal) + Set Your Sights: IHG is running a superb promotion for their members in India and Nepal. For every 3 nights you spend in India/Nepal, you get a free night certificate which you can spend at their hotels across the globe in the whole of 2015. The promotion runs till April 30, 2015. This can…

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Le Meridian Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa to open on March 1, 2015

It is always interesting to see a chain open a vacation property around India, something which has started to happen recently. Apart from Goa, most international hotel chains haven’t worked on their expansion in the leisure market around India and they are catching up now. One of the properties I’ve been keenly tracking is the Le Meridian which is going to open in Mahabaleshwar, a 6-8 hour ride away from Mumbai, based in the hills. Mahabaleshwar is a sleepy town full of tourists when the strawberries are there, and a getaway from Mumbai. However, it did not have a chain property so far. Le Meridian is changing that from March 2015, when they open their gates on March 1. The…

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Hotel Review: Sheraton Kuwait, A Luxury Collection Hotel

My go to hotel, while I am in Kuwait, is the Sheraton Kuwait Hotel. The Sheraton Kuwait, is a Starwood hotel, a Luxury Collection property which is somehow a splatter of almost all the Starwood brands out there. I’ll come to that in a moment. However, it is a hotel which has been very nice to me over my 5-6 stays with them over the years, in spite of the fact that I am only a SPG Gold member. My stays with them are usually a one night stay, and hotel prices in Kuwait are regulated, so I have never seen this hotel offering a price less than 85 Kuwaiti Dinar. However, for the price you pay, you also get…

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#spglife swag Halloween giveaway

It is time to share the goodies that I brought back from the BoardingArea conference. Yesterday, going away was a powerbank, and today I have a cool pair of shades that travelled back with me to India courtesy Starwood Preferred Guest. I wear a thick pair of glasses, but I sure thought one of my readers could sport the swag. It is pretty simple to get this pair. All you got to do is tell me is… Which is your favourite Starwood property and what do you like about it? All you need to do, is to put in a comment below before 1159 IST tomorrow (1 November 2014). I will pick a winner tomorrow itself and send them the…

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Starwood to move HO to India in 2015

Starwood Hotels is planning to move their CEO Frits van Paasschen and other key executives to come and live and work out of Starwood’s India hotels in Mumbai and Delhi for a month, in the month of March 2015. For a company in the hospitality business, to be close to their customers is important, and Starwood is making that effort. In the past, Starwood’s top brass has been over to Shanghai for a month in 2011, and in 2013, about 200 Starwood executives were in Dubai for 30 days, appreciating local nuances to build them into their management philosophy for the regions. As per the Wall Street Journal, Starwood already has 40 hotels they operate in India, and another 36…

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SPG partners with JetPrivilege as transfer partner

Starwood’s loyalty program SPG has gone ahead and added a transfer partner which could be of benefit for those who like their Jet Airways miles. Just this morning, they’ve announced their partnership with Jet Airways, which means you can now transfer Starwood points 1:1 into Jet Airways JetPrivilege program. But 1:1 is not a very interesting option for me since I value SPG Starpoints more than Jet Airways miles. However, just like with other programs where SPG Starpoints transfer into, you can transfer in multiple of 20,000 points, and you get a bonus of 5,000 miles added to your transfer from SPG. So, while 19,999 Starpoints = 19,999 JPMiles, 20,000 Starpoints = 25,000 JPMiles. You can transfer upto 79,999 Starpoints…

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I finally get my first Best Rate Guarantee claim. Yay!

With the penetration of the Internet, one of the enabling factors for the various travel providers such as hotels is their ability to cut out the middle-men, i.e., the travel agents. The only way the can afford to do this, or they claim to do this, is by promising that they are putting out the best available rates on their websites, and no one else is going to be lower. The hotel business does have a lot more commissions as compared to the airline business, which works on wafer thin margins for the agents now. Hence, the ability to discount for a travel agency is much more, and they do it all the time. What do I stand to lose,…

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SPG offering credit / double points for India stays

Starwood is offering upto $50 credit for booking a stay in the Indian properties, along with the Maldives and Bangladesh ones. You need to reserve using the code CREBAR to be able to enjoy the promotion. Reservations using this booking code can be made till August 10, 2014 while the stays have to be completed by December 31, 2014. The room credit will be not applicable for adjusting against the room rate, but against services at the hotel, such as dining and spa. I checked up the rates, and the promotion is valid on flexible rates. For instance, the ITC Rajputana is offering rates of INR 8500 per night, and offering USD 25 credit, which could be good for a…

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Hotel Review: Four Points by Sheraton, Jaipur

Flight Review: Indigo, BOM – JAI, 6E 207, Economy My trip was going to be just an overnight one, because I had other commitments back in Mumbai on Sunday. Hotels in Jaipur, even the chain ones, are pretty cheap I’d say, and at the time of making this reservation, Four Points was working out to a very cheap deal of about INR 3000 inclusive of breakfast. While it is not all the way in the centre of the city, one could easily get conveyance from here to the old Jaipur areas. We arrived into Jaipur pretty early, and had requested early check-in ahead of arrival. The hotel was not very full, so I did get a confirmation that early check-in…

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